David Recine

Light Reading Practice with The Dodo

As you probably already know, preparing for the TOEFL can be hard work. TOEFL Reading practice can be especially intense—going through all of those academic passages and questions, studying all those new vocabulary words.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from all of that heavy reading practice in your TOEFL prep—not by stopping English reading practice completely, but by switching to some light, fun reading for a little while.

The Dodo is an excellent website for this kind of mental break. The articles are fun, yet the subject matter is surprisingly TOEFL-like. You see, The Dodo focuses on interesting stories about animals… and the TOEFL loves animals.

On the exam, there are many passages and lectures that deal with animal life in some way. Reading the articles on The Dodo is a good way to expose yourself to the names of a lot of different types of animals so that you’ll be more comfortable with specific animal species names when you see and hear them on the TOEFL. Some articles on The Dodo also include scientific vocabulary that may appear on the TOEFL.

Below I’m going to give you links to a few articles form this charming website, accompanied by a vocabulary guide for each article… and one photo from each article. (The Dodo is full of animal pictures.)

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.


Tortoise Waited 184 YEARS for His First Bath


Key vocabulary

tortoise: large land turtle
loofah: a type of sponge used for bathing, characterized by rough fiber
indifferent: not caring about anything
scrubbing: washing with force
epic: big, amazing
life span: the amount of time that something is alive
profoundly: greatly
technically: according to official rules
stockpile: a group of things or an amount of something that has been gathered over time


World’s Loneliest Orca Still Stuck in America’s Tiniest Tank


Key vocabulary

orca: killer whale
captive: being held prisoner or being artificially kept out of the wild (in the case of animals)
creating offspring through sexual reproduction
conserve: to allow something to remain the way it is
marine: related to the ocean
environment: the air, water, and lands of the earth; the area that surrounds living things
foreseeable: able to be predicted
sanctuary: a place that provides protection
enclosure: a space that is separated from other spaces by a physical barrier
highlighted: emphasized, caused people to pay attention to
revamped: new and improved
incorporates: includes
transitioned: changed
endangered: existing in small numbers and at risk of dying out
population: the total number of a species of animals in the world or in part of the world
literally: exactly as described
burst out: made a sudden action
vocalize: to make a sound with one’s voice
blowholes: the holes on the top of the bodies of dolphins and whales
grim: upsetting, frightening, or very negative
generation: a group of animals that were born at roughly the same time
implications: unspoken suggestions or ideas about a subject
indications: suggestions or clues
evolve: change and grow; become something different and new



  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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